BellToy and Bear

September 18, 2009

A snap of my latest craft. Two softies for a friend’s twinset, due in December.

Simple to stitch, stuffed with bamboo fiber (antimicrobial!), and with sound built in: the eensie pillow, the one with the grosgrain pully-things, has a bell buried inside for some special jingle-jangle. Hint: The bell is housed inside a soft plastic cage (yes, it’s supposed to be a cat toy, but whatevs) so the stuffing won’t muffle the ring.

Care to share your own sews?


RAWR! Meet Bernoulli, Jr.

February 18, 2009

In response to the sweet linkage from my homegirl Kissley, pillow-making Londoner and author of Deux Oiseaux, I’m serving up my latest pillow creation: Bernoulli, Jr.!

He’s a monstie (not a monster), and he’s cake to make. Here’s how:

  1. Get some fabric. Any kind, any size will do. Doesn’t have to be the same on both sides; Bernoulli, Jr., is soft on one side, a little scritchy on the other.
  2. Get some stuffing. I use bamboo fiberfill, because bamboo is easily renewable and it’s antibacterial (in case Bernoulli, Jr., drools on himself). You can also use fabric and yarn scraps, though if your monster is big, you’ll need a lot.
  3. Draw the shape of your monstie/er onto the WRONG side of one of your pieces of fabric. Get creative. Monsters come in all forms! Cut out and trace onto your other piece of fabric; cut that out, too.
  4. (If you want to embroider a scary face, or you want to hand-sew felt or fabric eyes, mouths, teeth, etc., now’s the time.)
  5. Baste (that is, pin) your cut-outs together, WRONG sides facing out. Make sure both shapes line up; if they don’t trim to match.
  6. Using a zigzag stitch, sew your two cut-outs together, leaving a 1/4-inch seam AND at least a 3-inch hole somewhere (I used the top of Bernoulli, Jr.’s head) through which to stuff the stuffing.
  7. Stuff your monster full! Stuff more than you think, ‘cuz he/she will flatten out over time. You can also leave special prizes inside your monster; I made a stuffed-and-bebuttoned heart and hid it inside of him, because Bernoulli, Jr., is really a big softie.
  8. Whip stitch your opening closed. Add buttons and other embellishments.
  9. Growl and rawr all through the town!

Got kids in your life? Beyond the baby lovies I blogged way back, a handful of handmades to make any kid giggle with glee.


Move over, Teddy Ruxpin — there’s a new toy in town. All you need to make a digital plushie for your favorite bedtime story-obsessed (but geographically distant) kid: a surgery-ready stuffed animal, an mp3 player, and a little ingenuity. Follow the directions (from MAKE Magazine), and you’re ready to record some seriously epic stories, like Treasure Island and/or War and Peace.



Two cute (and pretty simple) ideas from the Queen of Craft. Think about this: the paper bag puppets don’t have to be assembled beforehand; give your kid-friend the supplies, and then build the animals together. Quality time, people — that’s what Xmas is all about!



Call him what you will, but this Hoth-dweller lookalike is anything but abominable. Knit him up with a frown or a smile — any way you stitch it, he’ll melt your youngster’s heart.


THE OLD STANDBY: SOCK MONKEY via WikiHow (with photos!)

History lesson: Mr. Living Small and I first pitched woo in September 2000. That Christmas, he came forward with this:

sock monkey

A handsewn pirate sock monkey! Everyone (kid, grownup, zombie) should have a sock monkey. They rule, and they are easy to make, too. And don’t sweat the sewing: I once made one for my buddy JW, but forgot the ears. It’s true! And I have one with no tail. Serious! So even if you overlook crucial body parts, or you mess up the stitches, or you go bananas in some other way and end up with a puffy cylinder with button eyes and a fat red maw, a blessing on your head. ‘Cause you were going for the sock monkey, and it’s the thought that counts.